Three weeks out from the film’s release and the cast and crew of “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” continue to talk up the final entry in the current trilogy and overall nine-film Skywalker saga.
First up, the film’s director J.J. Abrams has spoken about the return of actor Ian McDiarmid reprising his role of Emperor Palpatine despite the character’s apparent death in “Return of the Jedi”.
The recent trailers and TV spots have teased his appearance with voiceover (without showing his face), and now Abrams tells Uproxx that it was his plan all along to bring Palpatine back – an idea that began back at the beginning of the new trilogy:
“You just look at what he talks about, who he is, how important he is, what the story is – strangely, his absence entirely from the third trilogy would be conspicuous. It would be very weird. That’s not to say there was a bible and we knew what happens at every step. But when Larry Kasdan and I worked on The Force Awakens, we didn’t do it in a vacuum. We very purposely looked at what came before. We chose to tell a story that touches upon specific things and themes and ideas that we’ve seen before, to begin a new story. But we examined all that came before to ask where does this feel like it’s going?
So there were discussions about that at the time. Yet, like any beginning, you want to put the threads in, but you don’t want to necessarily be literal about everything. And then when Rian was brought on to do The Last Jedi, we met and we talked about things and he wrote his story. And when I read it the script, I realized this didn’t get in the way of anything Larry and I talked about that I thought I’d get to. There were some very specific things we did get to do in this movie that we were laughing and going, “Oh my god, we’re finally doing that thing we talked about five years ago.”
Palpatine is the center of Abrams’ favourite scene from the prequels – the opera scene where he tells Anakin the story of Darth Plagueis in “Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith”. However it’s still not clear how Palpatine figures into the story here, but it may tie into ideas from George Lucas himself.
Lucasfilm chief Kathleen Kennedy recently told EW that they sat down with Lucas for a long meeting before the scriptwriting for ‘Skywalker’ began and “took a lot of notes” in terms of ideas to end the saga. Whether the film’s original writer/director Colin Trevorrow was involved in those meetings is unclear, but seeing as he has received a ‘story by’ credit for his work – the “Jurassic World” helmer has now revealed that he has decided to donate his residuals from the film to the Alexander Devine Children’s Hospice.
Back to Abrams who spoke with Esquire and confirmed not only does the film have more Knights of Ren, but also shifts the focus back to a group collaborative adventure again as opposed to siloing people off like “The Last Jedi” did.
Check out a new TV spot for the film and a featurette on the evolution of the Stormtrooper design below. “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” opens December 20th with the film also set to hit China day-and-date.